Hugo Contreras — A USAID Community Hero in Honduras

Speeches Shim

Hugo Contreras is one of the winners of USAID's award for Honduran volunteer community leaders — also known as "Community Heroes." 

Hugo volunteers as a conflict mediator, working with a USAID-supported community outreach center. When domestic or neighborhood conflicts arise, he uses his experience and training to keep the situation from escalating and resulting in violence. This type of mediation is particularly important in Honduras, a country with one of the highest homicide rates in the world.

Hugo is no stranger to the challenges that youth face in Honduras. When he was growing up, Hugo’s own family experienced being homeless. When they moved to San Pedro Sula — Honduras’ most violent city and where Hugo now volunteers — he didn't fit in with other youth. His family's continued struggle and his own lack of self-esteem dimmed Hugo's hopes for his future. But, with the help of positive outside influences, he overcame those challenges.

Hugo is currently wrapping up his college studies, and he hopes to continue working in his community as a clinical psychologist.

Hugo doesn't try to hide or forget his past; instead he uses his experience to relate to the individuals with whom he now volunteers.

The message that Hugo wants to share with Honduran youth and others in hardship is, "Make an opportunity out of that suffering, and as long as we are alive we can do something to transcend our challenges."